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Andy Warhol a
Artists on Andy Warhol
Dia Art Foundation Publication Series

Video Image for Andy Warhol a

If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface: of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.
—Andy Warhol

A signifier is what represents the subject to another signifier.
—Jacques Lacan


What if we take Andy Warhol as his word, and consider his writing as a viable means by which to index his visual art? Warhol’s encounter with language was no less traumatic than it is for us all, but the contingencies of his particular confrontation precipitated a singular know-how that underwrote his art. With reference to the later teachings of Jacques Lacan, namely his lucubration of the writings of James Joyce, and Jacques-Alain Miller’s consequent designation “the era of ordinary psychosis,” my aim is to better understand Warhol’s art as a harbinger of our hypermodern present, marked by the pluralization of the Name-of-the-Father. It was the voice-object that guided me.

“The letter! The litter!” This giddy exclamation from Finnegans Wake, cited by Lacan for its various connotations—mail, mark, offspring, gurney, refuse—reverberated as I reviewed the reams of writing devoted to Warhol. It echoed again as I considered Warhol’s own writing, eighteen volumes in all, always coauthored, including illustrated promotional booklets, novels, and the magazine Interview. And again it resounded as I trailed the letter littered from his father’s name, for although Warhol may have forgotten the letter, the letter did not forget Warhol.

Three basic concepts of Lacanian psychoanalysis are prerequisites for my reconsideration of Warhol. First, the subject is not the individual but subject of the unconscious. Second, Lacan’s founding thesis, following his “return to Freud,” is that the unconscious is structured like a language, composed of signifiers that operate by the laws of metaphor and metonymy. As the body is riddled with signifiers, and thus becomes a speaking being, language is synonymous with the Other. Third, Lacan posited three consistencies: imaginary, symbolic, and real. He later illustrated the ways in which they are intertwined by utilizing the Borromean rings, a topological means to formulate the knotting of the three realms. Following his encounter with the writings of Joyce, Lacan revised his earlier iteration of Freud’s Oedipus complex, and his own “Name-of-the-Father,” by adding another ring, called “sinthome.” Akin to an insignia, this fourth ring binds the three registers and makes a singular knotting for each subject.


It was the lowercase a, relevant to both Lacan and Warhol, that beckoned me. The risk to willfully mistake the letter a, purloined allegedly by chance from Warhol’s surname, for the a of autre (French for “other”) as cause to reconsider his art qua writing by way of Lacan’s objet petit a proved exceptionally rewarding. In Lacanian algebra there are two letter a’s: the lowercase a, the abbreviated object little a; and an uppercase A, the big Other. In the Borromean knot, objet petit a is located at the center where the three rings intersect.

Considered his greatest invention, objet petit a is defined by Lacan as an intangible yet contingent and “ornamental” element. It is what drops away as a result of severance of the subject from the body of the other. First designated by Freud as breast and feces, it is a part object, separable from the body. As a fundamental lack, it is a lost and unattainable object that abides for the subject as the inciting cause of his or her desire, which conceals or compensates for the privation. It coincides with the corresponding lack in the other as an excessive remainder, around which the drives circulate. As a residue of the real in the symbolic, it precipitates the drives––in Beyond the Pleasure Principle Freud defines all drives as death drives––and consequently accumulates as a surplus, an unbearable enjoyment, or jouissance. To the part objects founded by Freud, Lacan adds gaze and voice, and these pertain to Andy Warhola. Objet petit a typifies Lacan’s definition of the subject as manque à être, “want-to-be,” at once lack-of-being and desire-as-being. He later defines it as a semblant, a semblance or facsimile of being. In Warhol’s words, “figment.”

The dislodged vowel first returns in Warhol’s illustrated book A Is an Alphabet (1953). It will recur again with a: a novel (1968), and The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again (1975). In his seminar on Edgar Allan Poe’s 1844 short story “The Purloined Letter,” Lacan traces the itinerary of a letter, a correspondence that operates as object little a. It is both the undisclosed contents of the letter and the play of intersubjective relationships it engenders in its symbolic transformations throughout the narrative that concern Lacan.

We are quite simply dealing with a letter which has been detoured, one whose trajectory has been prolonged (this is literally the English word in the title), or, to resort to the language of the post office, a letter en souffrance (awaiting delivery or unclaimed). Here then, the letter’s singularity, reduced to its simplest expression, is “simple and odd,” as we are told on the very first page of the story; and the letter is, as the title indicates, the true subject of the tale. Since it can be made to take a detour, it must have a trajectory which is proper to it—a feature in which its impact as a signifier is apparent here. For we have learned to conceive of the signifier as sustaining itself only in a displacement comparable to that found in electronic news strips or in the rotating memories of our machines-that-think-like-men, this is because of the alternating operation at its core that requires it to leave its place, if only to return to it by a circular path. . . . This is why what the “purloined letter,” nay, the “letter en souffrance,” means is that the letter always arrives at its destination.

Lacan recognizes in the triadic replays of the narrative structure the basis for the insistence of the signifying chain and, via the circuitous path of the letter, repetition automatism, or the return of the repressed. At each stage of the letter’s symbolic transformations, the characters will be defined by their position in relation to it, and carried along by it. As they enter into the necessity peculiar to the letter’s trajectory, they each function differently in the essential reality it constitutes. For each of them the letter is the unconscious with all its repercussions, namely that at every point of the symbolic transit they become someone else. “If the letter may be en souffrance, [the characters] are the ones who shall suffer from it. By passing beneath its shadow, they become its reflection. By coming into the letter’s possession—an admirably ambiguous bit of language—its meaning possesses them.”


Here is Warhol, interviewed along with Ivan Karp in November 1978, about the errant a in Warhola:
PATRICK S. SMITH: Well, I was just thinking of last names, and I’ve heard a couple of stories about why you dropped the “a” [in Warhola].
ANDY WARHOL: Well, the reason why I dropped the “a” is that ’cause when I was going around with a portfolio, it just happened by itself.
IVAN KARP: People just forgot to put it on. Right
WARHOL: Yeah. So, it just happened. There were other Warhols in the telephone book, and . . . ah. . . .

There may have been other Warhols in the telephone book, but by 1953 Warhol had “acquired several nicknames, including ‘Raggedy Andy’ (because of his calculated appearance) and ‘Andy Paperbag’ (because of his practice of carrying a paperbag instead of a portfolio).” He later considered changing his name again to John Doe and Morningstar, according to Jackie Curtis and Ultra Violet, respectively. It is not insignificant that “André Warhola,” which Warhol donned early on to affect sophistication, was the correct Carpatho- Rusyn pronunciation of his father’s name, Ondrej. Warhol later dropped this nomination, choosing instead one made by mistake in an issue of Glamour by an American art director, Tina Fredericks. With this slip, which echoes his mother Julia’s infamous bungling of the English language, Warhol was confronted again by a variant of an egotistical question that troubled Joyce, “How am I to sign myself.”

However, the name games did not stop once the a fell away. For, as has been recounted, Julia would often sign Andy’s name to his illustrations. And if she was too tired, Nathan Gluck, Warhol’s assistant at the time, would. According to Joseph Giordano, an advertising director and friend to both Julia and Andy, on occasion she would even claim herself to be Warhol:

So, she came in and slammed the suitcase on the ground and she turned around. She looked at him and she said, “I am Andy Warhol.” And there was a big discussion about why she was Andy Warhol. But, I guess, she convinced him that he [sic] was. So, you see, I . . . I can only work from Missy’s [Mrs. Warhola’s] influence on Andy, really, because I’ve only seen him in circumstances with Missy, really.

The empty space that “just happened by itself” insists for Warhol in the guise of surface and void, speech and voice, repetition and rupture, or in Lacan’s teaching automaton and tuché. To paraphrase Lacan, what is a hole if nothing surrounds it? By dropping the a yet hauling it along, traced by its various returns, Warhol betrays it as sinthome or insignia, an “ab-sense” that knots the three rings. Precisely through its vacancy does he disclose it as a surplus, brimming with jouissance, beyond pleasure, en souffrance in the signifying chain. In the symbolic, the a Warhol edits returns to edit his “writing”—A Is an Alphabet, a: a novel, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol—in the imaginary, his art; and in the real, one might cautiously argue, his appearance—sanded nose, skin creams, pinhole glasses, girdles, wigs. And so evident as to go unseen, the purloined letter itself, is the last letter, a, of his mother’s first name, Julia.

Warhol, not Lacan, might well have famously said: “Man’s desire is the desire of the Other.” This recalls the often repeated anecdote in which Warhol, formerly Warchola, shows two Coca-Colas, painted renditions of the bottled brand, to Emile de Antonio in the early 1960s to ask which he preferred: one, a dirty “expressionistic” version with smudges and hatches; the other, a clean iteration of early Pop. (In Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, soda is colloquially called “pop.”) Relevant to the well-known outcome of this taste test was the pretense of Warhol’s deference to the other as a trademark strategy.


Although Lacan introduced “The Mirror Stage” in 1936, the concept, like other foundational ones, evolved throughout his teaching. By the 1950s he no longer viewed the mirror stage exclusively as a formative stage of ego identification and self-consciousness, a product of a child’s jubilant but false assumption of its reflected, illusory image as self. He established it as integral to the structure of subjectivity, locus of the scopic drive, and basis for imaginary consistency. In the early 1960s he made yet another critical revision when he stressed the role played by the other’s voice, exemplified by the mother’s speech, and the dialectic of love and rivalry it recapitulates. He observed that “the plane of the mirror is governed by the voice of the Other”; the gaze is indexed by the voice, and provocatively “the gaze is the underside of consciousness.” In short, it is the voice-object that bisects the plane of the mirror and animates the specular realm. Via the mirror stage, Lacan recalibrates voice, correlative to gaze, as objet a. “The objet a in the field of the visible is the gaze.” Gaze is not understood as sight but as the place from which the subject is seen by the other, which is everywhere. If confronted to the gaze, one apperceives oneself as a stain, an aberration in the scene.

When it does emerge, the real of the gaze can be mortifying. In 1976 Warhol and Jamie Wyeth agreed to paint portraits of each other, an anomaly in Warhol’s career. Their comments betray the stakes of the gambit:
ANDY WARHOL: Jamie was a very difficult subject; I don’t know why. I took more pictures of him than anyone else. It took two months of thinking about.
JAMIE WYETH: I just felt a rapport. I knew it was something I wanted, the minute the idea came up. I see this portrait of Andy as a sort of portrait of New York. I love New York and I feel this is New York.
WARHOL: I wasn’t concerned about how he would paint me. I think it’s great. It’s so realistic I can’t believe it.
Warhol’s characteristically canny response again approximates Lacan: “When, in love, I solicit a look, what is profoundly unsatisfying and always missing is that—You never look at me from the place from which I see you. Conversely, what I look at is never what I wish to see.” A comparison of the two portraits is startling, due in part to how conspicuously Warhol’s Wyeth works to lure or disarm the gaze––dompte-regard as Lacan theorizes it. What also can be heard in their exchange is the operation of the receipt of one’s message in an inverted form.


The letter a is not only the first letter of the twenty-six-letter English alphabet; it is also the first in the thirty-six-letter Rusyn Cyrillic alphabet. Rusyn, also known as Carpatho-Rusyn, is an East Slavic language with six dialects, including Lemko, which the Warholas spoke at home in Pittsburgh. Carpatho-Rusyn shares a linguistic lineage with Russian, Belarusian, and Ukrainian.

Julia Warhola never was “Americanized.” She remained loyal to her Czech roots all her life. She attended the Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Church, the faith of her ancestors, oftener [sic] than just for Sunday mass. She spoke Czech in the home and taught it to her sons. The older boys, Paul and John, tried to speak it on occasion to please her, but Andy rejected it, and if she ever spoke to him in her native tongue, he answered in English. This was the earliest evidence of Andy’s commitment to all things American. But when Paul and John were small, very little was spoken around them but Czech, and their efforts to speak it left them with “funny accents,” causing other children to mock them, and their speech had to be ironed out into flat American during their school years.

While Andy Warhola may have succeeded in rejecting any outward trace of a funny accent, as an adult he and Julia would converse privately in Rusyn, according to several Factory denizens. This bilingual bond is not unusual for the children of immigrants. “Warhol distrusted language; he didn’t understand how grammar unfolded episodically in linear time, rather than in one violent atemporal explosion,” stated Wayne Koestenbaum. During his first year at Carnegie Tech, where he studied pictorial design, Warhol “flunked out”:

. . . because of his traumatic relation to the written word. The adult Andy Warhol became a prolific author and a memorable aphorist (“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes”); these successes have obscured the fact that he could not write. The inability went further than the mere dependence on ghostwriters (unexceptional in the annals of celebrity authorship) would suggest: he avoided ever writing anything down. I found virtually no correspondence in his hand. . . . Clearly, he was dyslexic, though undiagnosed. . . . Some of his errors: “vedio” for “video,” “polorrod” and “poliaroid” for “Polaroid,” “tai-land” for “Thailand,” “scrpit” for “script,” “pastic” for “plastic,” “herion” for “heroin,” and “Leory” for “Leroy.” He had a hard time with simple English.

His relationship to language was fundamentally unsound, yet his work is riddled with words—caption, copy, label, logo, how-to, headline, name brand. His ultimate defense against language, the tape recorder, was a deceptively humdrum though novel means by which to render, via transcription, the materiality of speech, to capture the voice as object. Call it an invocatory writing, exemplary of his artistic know-how for making due with what otherwise may have been “unspeakable.”


Radio became popular in the home after being developed for communication purposes during World War I. In 1920 the first commercial radio station in the United States, KDKA, was established surprisingly enough in Pittsburgh, where Warhol was born in 1928. The first regular entertainment programs and advertisements were broadcast in 1922. The medium proliferated, and evolved into what is commonly referred to as the “golden age of radio,” dating from 1935 to 1950. Coca-Cola, Campbell’s Soup, Jell-O, and Kellogg’s were among the most prominent advertisers of the era.

As a means to name the recurring and enigmatic body events of Saint Vitus’s Dance—traumatic may not be overstating their effect—Warhol assigns the misnomer “nervous breakdowns,” an uncharacteristic allusion by him to a possible underlying meaning or cause.

I had had three nervous breakdowns when I was a child, spaced a year apart. One when I was eight, one at nine, and one at ten. The attacks—St. Vitus Dance—always started on the first day of summer vacation. I don’t know what this meant. I would spend all summer listening to the radio and lying in bed with my Charlie McCarthy doll and my un-cut-out cut-out paper dolls all over the spread and under the pillow. The summertime scenario repeats: bedridden while experiencing “attacks” of Sydenham chorea, Warhol is sustained by the voice of radio.

While much has been made of Warhol’s recollections of his McCarthy doll, its importance as a manifestation of the voice-object has gone unheard. A popular radio figure of the day, McCarthy was Edgar Bergen’s dummy. “They” first appeared on air in 1936 and then hosted their own show from May 1937 to July 1956. The ironic popularity of a ventriloquist on the radio, where the trick of “throwing the voice” goes unseen, may be explained as a phenomenon of the fascination for the new medium itself. The wooden dummy embodied the phantom voice of radio. It is Bergen’s other, natural voice, in his comedic repartee with the puppet, that delimits the aural hallucinatory aspect of his sidekick’s speech. Their vocal relay—from a to b and back again—bandies between Bergen’s baritone and the marionette’s countertenor, remarkably similar to Truman Capote’s childlike voice. It may be said, ventriloquy stages the split between voice and speech.

Two other radio programs of the era were Dick Tracy, which was on the air from 1934 to 1948, and Popeye the Sailor, which ran from 1935 to 1938; both characters appeared in early Warhol Pop paintings. And another program became a pulp magazine, The Shadow. Originally The Detective Story Hour, it was re-branded due to the popularity of its mysterious narrator. From 1937 to 1954, The Shadow had “the power to cloud men’s minds”:
[Fade up on ominous-sounding organ] Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows! [Sinister laughter; fade out on organ]

On December 9, 1938, at the end of the eighteenth show of The Mercury Theater on the Air, Orson Welles announced the show’s new sponsor, the Campbell’s Soup Company. The series moved from Sunday to Friday and the name was changed to The Campbell Playhouse, which aired through 1940. Most stories were based on classic books, but popular movies were also adapted. Ad copy for one of the Campbell’s Soup commercials reads as follows:
[Fade up on sunny melody] Not so many years ago, tomato soup and cream of tomato were unusual dishes enjoyed very much, but not very often. Today, of all the soups in the world, tomato soup is the one most often served. Not because women have taken to making tomato soup frequently; no, on the contrary, few housewives ever attempt it anymore. There’s just one reason for tomato soup’s popularity, and it is this: the magic, matchless flavor of Campbell’s Tomato Soup. There’s a lively verve, a dashing zest about this flavor that people take to at once and come back to and enjoy again and again. The first racy taste of it has a way of arousing a desire to eat, and yet there’s a pleasant feeling of satisfaction when the last spoonful is gone. So this soup is a happy choice for the main dish at lunchtime or at supper, and it also is a fine way to start the day’s main meal. Serve it sometimes, too, as Cream of Tomato, made with milk instead of water. You can always be sure that it will be received with pleasure, because this, of all soups, is the one people like to have most often—Campbell’s Tomato Soup.

Interrupting the Carpatho-Rusyn Slavic spoke in the Warhola Pittsburgh home was the English language voice of American commercial radio. “Words troubled and failed Andy Warhol,” Koestenbaum has described, “although he wrote, with ghostly assistance, many books, and had a speaking style that everyone can recognize because it has become the voice of the United States—halting, empty, breathy, like Jackie’s or Marilyn’s, whose silent faces sealed his fame.” “He had a breathy way of talking. His voice was slight, un-emphatic, whispery, covered over with a smile,” described Fredericks about meeting Warhol. “When you read his writings, you can almost hear him speaking in that voice.” Although speech behaves differently by language, voice, which carries it, does not.

Here are portions of Jacques-Alain Miller’s elucidation of Lacan’s formation of the voice as object a: Speech knots signified—or rather the “to be signified,” what is to be signified—and signifier to one another; and this knotting always entails a third term, that of the voice. If we say that one cannot talk without a voice, we can just by saying that, inscribe the residue, the remainder of the subtraction of signification from the signifier in the register of the voice. And we can define the voice as everything in the signifier that does not partake in the effect of signification. . . . What Lacan calls voice is akin to intonation and its modalities. . . . The voice is doubtless a function of the signifier—or, better, of the signifying chain as such. “As such” implies that it is not just the signifying chain as spoken and heard, but also written and read. . . . The voice appears in its dimension of object when it is the Other’s voice. . . . The voice is the part of the signifying chain that the subject cannot assume as “I” and which is subjectively assigned to the Other. . . . The voice comes in place of what is properly unspeakable about the subject, what Lacan called the subject’s “surplus enjoyment.” . . . In this respect, the voice is precisely that which cannot be said. . . . So we do not use the voice; the voice inhabits language, it haunts it. . . . This is why, very logically, it is in [Lacan’s] writing on psychosis that we find the most developed articulation of the relation between the subject and voice.


The “Name-of-the-Father” is a cornerstone of Lacanian psychoanalysis, and evolved throughout his teaching. He interpreted the Oedipus complex as the paternal metaphor because it involves the primary function of substitution; abruptly put, the Name-of-the-Father for the desire of the mother. It is also designated as the paternal function because, via the signifier, it institutes Oedipal prohibition and localizes jouissance. The Name-of-the-Father is the preeminent metaphor and installs the subject within the symbolic order. As the founding master signifier, it inaugurates the operation of signification and allows naming to occur. However, the correspondence between signifier and signified is not inevitable, and unless they can be stitched together discord or oscillation can occur. In neurosis, these “quilting points” allow signification to ensue.

Conversely, when they are absent, or come undone, psychosis can result. The psychotic speaks as if he were spoken, not voluntarily speaking. Here, the paternal metaphor is foreclosed from the symbolic register, and consequently erupts in the real. This malfunction consigns the subject to the imaginary realm, which predominates in psychosis. What prevails linguistically as a result of foreclosure is metonymy. The psychotic’s experience is plagued by the constant metonymic slippage of the signified below the signifier, which forestalls fixed, coherent signification. Thus the phenomena most apparent in psychosis are disturbances of language, for instance holophrases, portmanteaus, and neologisms. With signifier unmoored from signified, the signifier itself becomes the object of communication. Hence, signification is distributed between code phenomena, or language, and message phenomena, or meaning. When the foreclosed signifier disruptively appears “outside” in the real, it produces moments in which “objects, transformed by an ineffable strangeness, are revealed as shocks, enigmas, significations.” The psychotic believes in these auditory hallucinations or emanations, known as elementary phenomenon, with a near fanatical conviction and certainty. The purpose of the paternal function is to avert the onset of such delusions.

Warhol’s father—mostly absent from home according to the artist’s autobiography, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol—died when he was not quite thirteen. As the story goes, Warhol, unable to bear the sight of his dead father, laid out in the living room in keeping with Greek Catholic tradition, hid beneath his bed and refused to go downstairs until his father’s body was removed days later.

A search through innumerable Warhol biographies and chronologies yielded only one photograph of his father, in the Victor Bockris biography The Life and Death of Andy Warhol. Even there the caption does not readily identify him as one of the four men pictured.


The voided a returns so insistently as to reduce Warhol to the letter itself in The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. The caller-receiver transmission of the telephone, a fixture in Warhol’s life, literalizes, here literally, the a-to-b-and-back-again volley, or the repetition automaton:
I wake up and call B.
B is anybody who helps me kill time.
B is anybody and I’m nobody. B and I.
I need B because I can’t be alone. Except when I sleep. Then I can’t be with anybody.
I wake up and call B.
“A? . . . ”

From the “Love (Puberty)” chapter:
My father was away a lot on business trips to the coal mines, so I never saw him very much. My mother would read to me in her thick Czechoslovakian accent as best she could and I would always say “Thanks, Mom,” after she finished with Dick Tracy, even if I hadn’t understood a word. She’d give me a Hershey Bar every time I finished a page in my coloring book.

If meaning was suspended, rerouted, or misread due to the indeterminacy of English by way of Carpatho-Rusyn, something else became the communicative mortar between mother and son, which this quote and the earlier one about summers spent listening to the radio attest. This correspondence is the newly emergent voice of commercial radio, which transmits American popular culture of the 1930s to their Pittsburgh home.

Warhol, in this recounting of the anecdote forty years later, ciphers an attempt to establish a borderline by first responding to Julia’s thick Slavic accent in English with “Thanks, Mom.” The only bit of dialogue quoted in the chapter, it ripples with an opposing “but no thanks, Mom.” This boundary is fortified with the signifier Hershey Bar, deciphered homophonically as her-she-bar, or here-she’s-barred. (As far as I know, with the exception of T-shirts created in 1979, and there as only one brand among a few, the Hershey Bar surprisingly never achieved iconographic status in Warhol’s work—or not so surprisingly as the case may be—as if by association it too was barred.)

Warhol purchased a tape recorder in the mid-1950s for Julia, who used it to record herself singing Rusyn folk songs and then to sing along with herself in playback. Apparently, Julia too enjoyed hearing herself in an auditory mirror, an a-to-b-and-back-again echo chamber. Approximately a decade later, Warhol acquires a tape recorder of his own, which inadvertently resounds the bond with Julia. Although he refers to it as a spouse, he may well have said “dummy,” to which he lends his voice. From the same chapter: But I didn’t get married until 1964 when I got my first tape recorder. My wife. My tape recorder and I have been married for ten years now. When I say “we,” I mean my tape recorder and me. A lot of people don’t understand that. The acquisition of my tape recorder really finished whatever emotional life I might have had, but I was glad to see it go.

Other examples of the a-to-b-and-back-again circuit that mother and son seemed to share, ones which exemplify Lacan’s observation that ultimately “the signifier is posited only insofar as it has no relation to the signified,” include Julia’s determinative “some” from Holy Cats by Andy Warhol’s Mother:

Some pussys [sic] up there love her; Some don’t. . . . Some like it day; Some like it night. . . . Some talk to angels; Some talk to themselves; Some know they are pussycats so they don’t talk at all; Some play with angels; Some play with boys; Some play with themselves; Some don’t play with nobody. Warhol, quoted in John Hallowell’s 1965 book The Truth Game:

Favorite tie, favorite pickle, favorite ring, favorite Dixie cup, favorite ice cream, favorite hippie, favorite record, favorite song, favorite movie, favorite Indian, favorite penny, favorite feet, favorite talk, favorite fish, favorite saint, favorite sin, favorite Beatle.

And a 1966 advertisement that Warhol placed in the Village Voice:

I’ll endorse with my name any of the following: clothing, AC-DC, cigarettes, small tapes, sound equipment, Rock ’N Roll records, anything, film, and film equipment, Food, Helium, WHIPS, Money; love and kisses, Andy Warhol.

Unable to proceed to metaphor, the psychotic idles somewhere between the first and second signifiers of the chain, S1 and S2, or somewhere along the way from a to b. Herbert Wachsberger has stated: This [malfunction] initiates an intransitive: “It means/it wants to say”; an unaccomplished signification, enigmatic emptiness . . . degree zero of signification—soon to be doubled by an “it means/wants to say something”— signification of signification . . . where the certainty of the subject that it is implicated in its being through this phenomenon is anchored.

Lacan, from his seminar on the psychoses:

“The subject knows that what is said concerns him, that there is some signification, although he does not know which one.”


Lacan’s later lessons on Joyce, in particular his epiphanies—passages of found words Joyce inserted into his writing—as evidence of psychosis and the enigmatic experience, can be suggestive in reference to Warhol as well. To cinch this comparison, in the following passages from essays devoted to Lacan’s encounter with Joyce, exchange Joyce’s name and references to his writing for Warhol’s and his art. Joyce described the process of his literary creation. He collects words from shops and posters, from the crowd that walks past him. He repeats them to himself over and over so that in the end they lose their signification for him.

These words read, heard, present themselves in the dimension of the elementary [phenomenon] detached from any signification. The word becomes the thing that it is. Joyce raises the mutation of the letter into litter to the dignity of an epiphany. Lacan defines the epiphany as a direct knotting of the unconscious to the real and says, “the formidable creative power of Joyce stems from the fact that he is not held back by any connections that the letter has with the Symbolic and the Imaginary. He is in relation with a letter that has severed all its identifications, which is not attached to any stable signification.

The epiphany marks an uncanny coincidence of insignificance and signifying tautology, at once the evacuation and the over-determination of meaning.

For the definition of the epiphany does not simply lie at the level of an isolated experience, but also in the very act of writing it down. And it is this act that ultimately allows Joyce to reassert a relation to the Other without passing via fantasy in the normal neurotic way. In fact, in the epiphany Joyce succeeds in knotting speech, the Symbolic, directly to the letter, the Real, thereby reducing his experience to the reality of the knot in a rigorous act which, through its dual aspects of transcription and transmission, founds the certainty of his aesthetic mission.

Lacan’s work with Joyce culminates in the mid-1970s with “Joyce the Symptom,” a 1975 lecture delivered at the Sorbonne, and Seminar 23, “The Sinthome.” (Clinically speaking, the sinthome is a mix of a subject’s symptom and fundamental fantasy.) The origin of the term sinthome is the Latin spelling of the original Greek word symptom, but it also rings as a Joyce-like neologism, combining: sin, saint, Thomas, homme, synthetic, home, and so on. As Thomas Svolos has described, Seminar 23:

. . . explores what we could call the enigma of Joyce. Lacan’s Joyce is a psychotic subject, but one who never has the symptoms of a full-blown psychosis. . . . The issue of stabilization then becomes paramount—how does Joyce achieve this? . . . Lacan returns to his old notion of imaginary compensation from Seminar III as he describes how Joyce’s ego, as a writer, allowed him to make a name for himself, and compensate for the foreclosure of the Name-of-the-Father. . . . Lacan argues that foreclosure is represented by a break in the three-ringed Borromean knot of Imaginary, Symbolic and Real—a failure of knotting, but one which can be compensated for with a fourth ring—in the case of Joyce, the ego, his writing—which, like the earlier concept of imaginary compensation (the ego, of course, is imaginary), will allow the structure to hold together, without falling apart. . . . Lacan rewrites psychic structure as a four-ringed Borromean knot, in which it is the sinthome, as the fourth ring that holds the other three together. Furthermore, the sinthome is nothing other than a general form of what used to be the Name-of-the-Father, which is now but one possibility as a type of sinthome, a possible fourth ring. . . . With this final shift, all of the earlier clinical formulations are recast. But, the key to this re-casting, is to realize that Joyce’s case—originally seen as exceptional, unusual, and very particular given his very singular place as a writer—is not the extraordinary one. We must invert this organization completely. Joyce’s form of psychosis is rather an ordinary one, one that perhaps resembles neurosis.

That psychosis is essentially ordinary to every subject is a revolutionary development in Lacan’s teaching—and psychoanalysis in general—and indicated by his amended term: the Name(s)-of-the-Father. In “There Are Four Discourses” (1979), Lacan writes: “everyone is mad, that is, delusional.”


Warhol’s knack for naming, and name-dropping, is symptomatic of the “all sizzle and no steak” age of advertising, and the rise of consumer culture in the wake of World War II. The evolution and pervasiveness of commodification, increasingly “liquefied” by new modes of distribution—no longer solely heard on the radio and read in print media but seen on television—is typified by the Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962). The contiguous serial canvases—soups vary, brand doesn’t—seem to slide metonymically, culminating in their structural signification to reveal just how fully the signifier stuffs the signified.

Forecasting what Rainer Crone called Warhol’s “panel-paintings,” the cans, taken together especially as a grid, as they are often exhibited, suggest an iconostasis, the wall that separates the sanctuary from the nave in a Greek Catholic Church. Formally akin to comic books, the sequential frames of the pictorial grids imply a message or narrative. Yet perilously free of captions or thought bubbles, they risk slipping their connotative bearings. The influence on Warhol of the formal aspect of the iconostasis litters Warhol scholarship. Yet a secondary aspect, an epiphanic one, exerted an equal force. Perhaps Warhol could not write, but knew how to hear. “It means, it wants to say something.”

Can Warhol’s paintings be construed as acts of writing? Can they more effectively, and critically, be appreciated as transcriptions, from a to b, his means of progressing technically from blotted line, to stamp, to opaque projector, to screenprint? Can Warhol, reconsidered as “writer”—the tape recordings, the books, the voice portraits of Interview (and, arguably, the films and videos)—bespeak this possibility? Warhol’s epiphanies, his “icons,” emerge in the dimension of American popular culture as elementary phenomenon. Hallucinations (neither photography nor painting, original nor copy, production nor reproduction), cultural litter, visual holophrases—we encounter them as indefinite articles, codes in search of messages: “The signification of signification itself.”

A to b and back again. The images stammer, echo, stutter, falter, and pile up with no means of crossing the bar to metaphor. Instead, as a consequence of code divorced of meaning, signification stalls and the lifeblood of the images drains before our eyes, transmogrified as icons, mute and enigmatic. It’s as if each distinctive pass of the squeegee struggles to find an analogous, proper visual tone or modulation, the right pitch or inflection; as if voice were in search of speech; or as if we had an analogous vision of the surface of language. Does not the automatism of repetition cycle the success of the signifier to improperly signify and, simultaneously, register the surplus jouissance it consequentially inflicts?

With reference to Warhol’s late work, specifically the Camouflage paintings, which he began in 1986, do they quiet the language disturbances registered visually in the earlier work? For here the repetitive nature of the imagery mirrors the readymade fabric print, allowing Warhol’s grid screenprint process, now clean not dirty, to hide within the mimicry pattern of the resulting canvas. Correlatively, do the Rorschach paintings of 1984 isolate and amplify the visual aberrations of the screenprint paintings? Put otherwise: Did the voice find speech? Did the letter at last arrive at its destination?


There are three critical ways in which we may have denied knowing Warhol: he was not Czechoslovakian, but Carpatho-Rusyn, a populace with a different dialect, history, and cultural heritage; the influence of commodity culture on his art is more accurately sited in the “golden age of radio,” rather than 1950s advertising culture exclusively; and his fundamental relationship with the gaze is inflected by the voice-object.

Citizen Warhol’s “Rosebud,” the letter a, littered from his last name, can be read as a reknotting of the names of his father—André, Ondrej, Warhola—and ciphered as sinthome. As Lacan said: “One can just as well bypass [the Name-of-the-Father], on the condition that one makes use of it.” Once Warhol signed without the a, the hole that remained functioned “litterally” or “littorally” as objet petit a. By de-inscribing a letter a, one that indexes all the eventual affectations, augmentations, authorship, and art, Andy Warhola made a uniquely American name for himself and became his own cause. Warhol-the-Symptom?

As he foreshadowed the capitalization of jouissance and the injunction to enjoy, Warhol’s symptom proclaims our own, the effect of a wider distillation process in which the entropic nature of surplus enjoyment is converted into pure value, like labor before it. As Joyce wrote long ago in Finnegans Wake: “iSpace.” Alenka Zupancic describes surplus value as:

. . . nothing else but the waste or loss that counts, and the value of which is constantly being added or included in the mass of capital. . . . The total is increasing, and this is called accumulation of capital. What makes this accumulation possible is, as Lacan puts it, that the surplus enjoyment starts to be counted. The entropic element [of enjoyment] is itself transformed into value and added as supplement. . . . In this discourse, it is no longer knowledge that is being detached from the entropic element of work/ enjoyment, it is this very entropic element itself that is being detached, in the name of knowledge and value, from its own entropy or negativity. What is being exploited and squeezed in every imaginable way is now precisely our enjoyment as an immediate source of surplus value.

With his singular artistic know-how, Warhol announced the “shift from the Ideal to the objet a as the organizing point of identification; the rise of the discourse of the capitalist; and the shift from the discourse of the master to the discourse of the analyst itself as the key organizing discourse of society today.” Warhol-the-Artist epitomized the demise of the authoritarian age of the father—from prohibition to permissiveness— and the consequential rise of the object a to the social apex.  

A few months after I changed my father’s name by a single vowel as an artistic maneuver, Lynne Cooke invited me to present an Artists on Artists lecture at Dia:Chelsea, New York, on September 15, 2008. I could now identify with Andy Warhol “to the letter.” I researched, wrote, delivered, and then revised this paper for possible publication, before I was fully awake to the magnitude and radicality of the teachings of Jacques Lacan, especially the later Lacan. He maintained, as do those in the contemporary Freudian field, that the artist always precedes the analyst in his “knowledge” of the unconscious. To risk my reconsideration of Warhol “clinically” was naive. However, the wager to recalibrate his achievement via his speech, writing and language-based works, was not in vain. As an artist writing in university discourse drag, my ambition was to contribute something new to the wealth of Warhol studies. In that spirit, I revised it once again for the present publication.

I am grateful to Lynne for the opportunity she afforded me to formalize and present my re-evaluation of Warhol with Lacan. Todd Alden, with characteristic generosity, shared with me his trove of Warhol publications and ephemera, which galvanized my research. My understanding of Carpatho-Rusyn ethnography and Slavic dialects benefited appreciably from conversations I had with Dr. Paul Robert Magocsi.

—Robert Buck, April 9, 2018

Originally published as “Andy Warhol a” in Artists on Andy Warhol, ed. Katherine Atkins and Kelly Kivland (New York: Dia Art Foundation, 2018), pp. 10¬–51. Artists on Andy Warhol © Dia Art Foundation, New York

1Epigraphs: Andy Warhol, interview with Gretchen Berg, East Village Other (November 1, 1966); reprinted in I’ll Be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews, 1962–1987, ed. Kenneth Goldsmith (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2004), p. 90; Jacques Lacan, “The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious,” in Écrits, trans. Bruce Fink, Héloïse Fink, and Russell Grigg (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2006), p. 694.

Jacques-Alain Miller said in September 1998: “From the moment there is a diversification of norms, we are evidently in the era of ordinary psychosis. What is coherent with the era of the Other that does not exist is ordinary psychosis.” In particular, Miller notes that, in contrast to the triggering of classical psychosis, in cases where “the subject has elaborated a sliding, drifting symptom, there is no clear-cut triggering.” For more information on the ordinary psychosis, see Miller’s “Ordinary Psychosis Revisited,” in Psychoanalytical Notebooks 19 (2009); and Thomas Svolos, “Ordinary Psychosis: Theory, Clinical Practice and Literature,” Paris English Seminar, July 7–12, 2008, http://www.lacan.com/ParisEnglishSeminar.htm

2 James Joyce, Finnegans Wake (1939; repr., New York: Penguin, 1999), p. 93. 

3 See Jacques Lacan, “The Function and Field of Speech and Language in 
Psychoanalysis,” in Fink et al., Écrits, pp. 197–268. 

4 Before adding the fourth ring, Lacan privileges the three registers alternately 
throughout his teaching. Benchmarks in this evolution include Jacques Lacan, 
The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book II: The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis, 1954–1955, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Sylvana Tomaselli (New York: W. W. Norton, 1991); Jacques Lacan, “Le Séminaire XXII, R.S.I., 1974–75,” trans. Jacques-Alain Miller, Ornicar?, nos. 2–5; and Jacques Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XXIII: Joyce and the Sinthome, 1975–1976, trans. Luke Thurston, unpublished. 

5 I was encouraged in my “joyce-ful” pursuit of Warhol via Lacan’s writing, especially his “Lituraterre” in The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XVIII:
On a discourse that might not be a semblance (1971), trans. Cormac Gallagher, unpublished; and by the “enjoy-meant” exhibited by the others who wrote 
after him, including Dany Nobus, “Illiterature,” in Re-Inventing the Symptom: Essays on the Final Lacan, ed. Luke Thurston (New York: Other Press, 2002), pp. 19–43; Eric Laurent, “The Purloined Letter and the Tao of the Psychoanalyst,” in The Later Lacan: An Introduction, ed. Véronique Voruz and Bogdan Wolf (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2007), pp. 25–52; and especially Luke Thurston, James Joyce and the Problem of Psychoanalysis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

6 For a practical synopsis of the concept and an abbreviated chronology of its development, see Dylan Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis (New York: Routledge, 1996), pp. 124–26. 

7 Andy Warhol, America (New York: Harper and Row, 1985), p. 129. 

8 Lacan, quoted in Laurent, “Purloined Letter,” pp. 21, 30. 

9 Ibid., p. 21. 

10Andy Warhol and Ivan Karp, interview with Patrick S. Smith, Warhol: Conversations about the Artist, ed. Patrick S. Smith (Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press, 1988), p. 342. 

11Patrick S. Smith, ed., Andy Warhol’s Art and Films (Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press, 1981), p. 15. In the related footnote on p. 534, Smith offers yet another anecdote relevant both to Warhol’s name change and his telephone fixation: “Andrew Warhola changed his name to ‘Warhol’ sometime in the early 1950s, perhaps because of an enormous telephone bill that was in his original name. . . . ”; see also a similar account in Smith, Conversations about the Artist, p. 24. 

12 Smith, Conversations about the Artist, p. 239. 

13 Victor Bockris, The Life and Death of Andy Warhol (New York: Bantam 
Books, 1989), p. 54. Tina Fredericks also gave Warhol his first commercial 
art assignment; see Smith, Conversations about the Artist, pp. 99–100. 

14 James Joyce closes a 1926 letter to his fiancé, Nora Barnacle, with 
this confounding appeal. See Thurston, James Joyce and the Problem 
of Psychoanalysis, p. 85. 

15 Joseph Giordano, quoted in Smith, Conversations about the Artist, p. 127. 

16 For definitions of “automaton” and “tuché,” see Jacques Lacan, The 
Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XI: The Four Fundamental Concepts of 
Psychoanalysis, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1981), pp. 53–64.

17 Lacan, ibid., p. 115. 

18 Ibid.

19 This is a variant spelling of Warhola and appears on Warhol’s birth certificate. 

20 The inevitable phonetic similarities between English and Carpatho-Rusyn as a 
probable “inspiration” for and an echo throughout Warhol’s work, given the premise that it is disturbed by language, present a compelling interpretive challenge, albeit an idiosyncratic one. 

21Smith, Conversations about the Artist, pp. 187–88. 

22 Jacques Lacan, “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I Function as Revealed 
in Psychoanalytic Experience,” in Fink et al., Écrits, pp. 75–81. 

23 Lacan, Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, p. 83. 

24See Ellie Ragland, “The Relation between the Voice and the Gaze,” in Reading 
Seminar XI: Lacan’s Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, ed. Richard Feldstein, Bruce Fink, and Marie Jaanus (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995), pp. 187–203. 

25 Lacan, Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, pp. 93–97. Lacan’s illustration here is the story of the sardine can. 

26 Andy Warhol and Jamie Wyeth, quoted in Andy Warhol & Jamie Wyeth: Portraits of Each Other, exh. brochure (Chadds Ford, Penn.: Brandywine River Museum, 1976). 

27 Lacan, Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, p. 103. 

28 For an explanation of dompte-regard, see Lacan, “What Is a Picture,” 
chap. 9, in Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, pp. 105–19. 

29See Paul Robert Magocsi, The People from Nowhere: An Illustrated History 
of Carpatho-Rusyns (Uzhhorod, Ukraine: V. Padiak Publishers, 2006). 

30 Fred Lawrence Guiles, Loner at the Ball: The Life of Andy Warhol (New York: 
Bantam, 1989), p. 26. 

31Wayne Koestenbaum, Andy Warhol (2001; repr., New York: Open Road, 
2015), p. 5. 

32 Ibid., pp. 33–34. 

33“I never fall apart because I never fell together.” See Andy Warhol, The 
Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975), p. 81.

34 Ibid., p. 21.

35 “Sydenham’s chorea or chorea minor (historically and traditionally referred to as St. Vitus’s dance) is a disorder characterized by rapid, uncoordinated jerking movements primarily affecting the face, hands and feet. Sydenham’s chorea results from childhood infection with Group A beta-haemolytic Streptococcus and is reported to occur in 20–30% of patients with acute rheumatic fever. The disease is usually latent, occurring up to 6 months after the acute infection, but may occasionally be the presenting symptom of rheumatic fever.” Wikipedia, s.v. “Sydenham’s chorea,” last modified June 15, 2018, 21:54, https://en. wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydenham%27s_chorea. 

36 This legendary clip can be heard in the video “Who Knows What Evil Lurks Within—The Shadow Knows,” YouTube, November 7, 2014, video, 0:20, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBnO9dw3n6A. 

37 This and other radio ads of the era can be listened to at Digital Deli, http://www. digitaldeliftp.com/LookAround/advertspot_campbells.htm. 

38 Koestenbaum, Andy Warhol, p. 5. 

39 Guiles, Loner at the Ball, pp. 53–54. 

40 Jacques-Alain Miller, “Jacques Lacan and the Voice,” in Later Lacan, pp. 137–46. 
For a philosophical slant on Lacan’s voice-object, see Mladen Dolar, A Voice 
and Nothing More (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2006). 

41Milestones in this evolution are Jacques Lacan, “On a Question Prior to Any Possible Treatment of Psychosis,” in Fink et al., Écrits, pp. 445–88; 
Jacques Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book III: The Psychoses, 1955– 1956, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Russell Grigg (New York: W. W. Norton, 1997); Jacques Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XVII: The Other Side of Psychoanalysis, 1969–1970, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Russell Grigg (New York: W. W. Norton, 2007); Lacan, Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XXIII, n.p. 

42 In French there is a homophonic play between “le nom du père” and “le non du père,” the no of the father. 

43 Renditions of Lacan’s formulation of Psychosis as it relates to the Name-of-the- Father abound. I refer here to Bruce Fink, A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian 
Psychoanalysis: Theory and Technique (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999), see especially the chapter “Psychosis,” pp. 79–111; and Russell Grigg, Lacan, Language and Philosophy (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2008), especially the chapters “Foreclosure” and “The

44Jacques Lacan, “Les complexes familiaux dans la formulatons de l’individu” (1938), quoted by Herbert Wachsberger, “From Elementary Phenomenon to the Enigmatic Experience,” in Voruz and Wolf, Later Lacan, p. 31. 

45 Eric Laurent, “Three Enigmas: Meaning, Signification, Jouissance,” in Voruz and Wolf, Later Lacan, p. 122. 

46 Eric Laurent, “Three Enigmas: Meaning, Signification, Jouissance,” in Voruz and Wolf, Later Lacan, p. 122. 

47 Warhol, Philosophy of Andy Warhol, p. 5. 

48 Warhol, Philosophy of Andy Warhol, p. 5. 

49Smith, Conversations about the Artist, p. 64. 

50 Warhol, Philosophy of Andy Warhol, p. 26. 

51Bruce Fink, Lacan to the Letter: Reading Écrits Closely (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004), p. 81. 

52 Julia Warhola and Andy Warhol, Holy Cats by Andy Warhol’s Mother (New York: Panache Press/Random House, 1987), n.p. 

53 Andy Warhol, quoted in John Hallowell, The Truth Game (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1969), pp. 252–53. 

54 See Kynaston McShine, ed., Andy Warhol: A Retrospective (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1989), p. 411. 

55 Herbert Wachsberger, “From Elementary Phenomenon to the Enigmatic Experience,” in Voruz and Wolf, Later Lacan, p. 111. 

56 Lacan, Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book III. 

57 Jean-Louis Gault, “Two Statuses of the Symptom: ‘Let Us Turn to Finn Again,’” 
in Voruz and Wolf, Later Lacan, pp. 75–76. 

58Catherine Millot, “On Epiphanies,” quoted in David Vichnar, Joyce Against 
Theory (Prague: Univerzita Karlova, 2008), p. 110. 

59Philip Dravers, “Joyce and the Sinthome: Aiming at the Fourth Term of the 
Knot,” in Psychoanalytical Notebooks 13 (2005), pp. 110–11. 

60 Thomas Svolos, “Intercepts: Ordinary Psychosis, Omaha, 2008,” Lacanian 
Ink 31 (Spring 2008), pp. 185–89. 

61 Jacques Lacan, “There Are Four Discourses” (1979), trans. Adrian Price and Russell Grigg, Culture/Clinic 1 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2013), p. 3. 

62 Rainer Crone, “Warhol’s Semiotic Practice: Signifier/Signified,” in Andy Warhol: A Picture Show by the Artist; The Early Work, 1942–1962 (New York: Rizzoli, 1987), p. 90. 

63 Wachsberger, “From Elementary Phenomenon to the Enigmatic Experience,” p. 111. 

64 Ibid. 

65 For instance, the influence pysanky may have had on Warhol seems mostly 
to have been overlooked. The Carpatho-Rusyn folk art tradition of dyeing vibrantly colored Easter eggs involves a variety of painstaking repetition and reversal techniques, often, depending on the process, within a fifteen second
or fifteen minute duration. For a start, and a detailed account of the various pysanky techniques, as well as other Carpatho-Rusyn cultural traditions, see Raymond M. Herbenick, Andy Warhol’s Religious and Ethnic Roots: The Carpatho- Rusyn Influence on His Art (Lampeter, U.K.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1997). 

66 The trajectory of Lacan’s later consequential encounter with Joyce’s writing, its precipitation of the passage from symptom to sinthome, and the related traversal of the fantasy is traced in two outstanding essays: Véronique Voruz, “Acephalic Litter as a Phallic Letter,” pp. 111–40, and Philip Dravers, “In the Wake of Interpretation: ‘The Letter! The Litter!’ or ‘Where in the Waste is the Wisdom,” pp. 141–76, in Thurston, Re-Inventing the Symptom. 

67 Lacan, Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XXIII, n.p. 

68 I refer to Lacan’s later term for Joyce, “Joyce-the-symptom”; the symptom is 
the true proper name particular to any subject. 

69 Alenka Zupancic, “When Surplus Enjoyment Meets Surplus Value,” in 
Jacques Lacan and the Other Side of Psychoanalysis: Reflections on Seminar XVII, ed. Justin Clemens and Russell Grigg (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2006), pp. 155–78. 

70 Svolos, “Intercepts,” p. 189. 

71 Jacques-Alain Miller, “A Fantasy,” August 2004, IV Congress of the World 
Association of Psychoanalysis, Comandatuba, Brazil, translated transcript, http://2012.congresoamp.com/en/template.php?file=Textos/Conferencia- de-Jacques-Alain-Miller-en-Comandatuba.html. 

Robert Buck © 2018


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